This afternoon I sat at the computer and tried to work on a couple of blog posts. I have a huge list of things I want to write about, things that are swirling round my head, things that need translating into coherent words so that you, gentle reader, will understand them.
I also have a more immediate list, a list of posts that are on my “next to write when I have the spoons” list, and fragments of which appear randomly in my mind as I lie awake at night, or try to work out how to make tea, and so on.
But the days on which I can work on these posts are limited. Some days I can sit and type three good, long, coherent, informative posts without pausing to draw breath (or, indeed, more accurately, stretch my fingers). However, some days I can hardly make the words happen at all. Sometimes on those days I can make “poetry” (or whatever the things I call poems are) on the iPad, sometimes I can lie in bed and type analogies about art galleries into my phone, and sometimes I can tidy up previously written posts and remove some of the more glaring errors from them (I recently found some muddled wording suggesting that I’d just discovered I was in my 40s, which really wasn’t what I meant to say)! Some days I can do nothing at all, and I am frustrated beyond belief by my inabilities.
Today I sat and tried to summon the words to write a post I very much want to write, and they weren’t there. So I sat and thought about why they weren’t there. And I noticed a pattern.
Last week I spent almost all week at home alone. I’d had a busy few weeks and been out over the weekend, so I was socially and sensorily spent. Monday and Tuesday were lost to recovery, but by Wednesday I started to feel a bit better, and by the end of the week the words were flowing quite nicely and I was much improved and starting to feel quite good. My head was clearer, I was getting a bit more done in the flat, and I was able to write more than I had been. I was even eating a little better.
But I had not left the flat all week. I had spent around 14 of my waking hours each day in near darkness, as quiet as possible, and in total solitude.
Then, at the weekend I went to visit my best friend. He said I was in better shape than he’d seen me for a while. We talked a lot about a book project we’re both involved in, we had some tea and a snack with his wife, and I also popped into our mailbox in town to pick up the post and to sort out some admin there. I then spent Sunday with my husband at home.
This week, however, has been very different. I went out for a walk on Monday, then took Tuesday to recover from it. I then went out again on Wednesday to do various jobs in town that were becoming rather urgent, including collecting my prescription from the doctor’s and trying to book an appointment to see my GP. Those who are reading this and know me on facebook will remember a status full of sadfaces as I’d had a massive panic (close to meltdown) at the reception desk in the surgery and had fled back to the safety of the car. I’d gone in, with prepared scripts, knowing that I had to collect my meds, then ask what appointments were available and put one into the calendar. However, there were no appointments available. I cannot make an appointment to see my GP because all appointments for May are fully booked and June hasn’t been loaded onto the computer yet. The receptionist suggested I telephone later. This made matters worse, not better. I fled.
And now I have noticed a pattern. Whereas yesterday, Thursday, I was still, to an extent, very hyper from having been out the day before, still very overstimulated and very hypervigilant (virtually the whole day was spent in motion of some sort, stimming like crazy in an attempt to rebalance my senses), today I feel more drained, lower, and I’m definitely struggling to produce any words that aren’t just a direct stream of consciousness translation. I have a list of jobs to do, but, to be honest, you might as well suggest I climb Everest as expect me actually to do those jobs.
So, as I sat down to write the blog post I wanted to write today, and couldn’t, I went to the facebook tab and was about to annoy my facebook friends a little further with this startling revelation that when I go out into the world I need one day (like yesterday) to wind down from the experience and another day (today) to recover properly. Then I decided against that option as I’ve already posted quite enough there for now (I also nearly put up some links to this blog on a couple of groups, but deleted them before posting because I didn’t want to annoy folks who weren’t interested – publicity work is not my forte) and decided to type whatever was in my head into a word document instead.
I’ve also, interestingly, just tried to speak. It’s really really difficult. The words aren’t there except in one-at-a-time syllables. I expect they’ll go completely at some point, and then I’ll start to feel better, less stressed, and my head will start to clear. This is how it seems to work. It’s like those bits of my brain need rebooting from time to time, especially if I use them a lot or get stressed. I have varying levels of shutdown, and I’m beginning to be more aware of these (prior to discovering I was autistic I just thought I was feeling ill and in a bad mood) and learning to live with them. Right now I don’t feel that I’ll ever be capable of anything much ever again, but my brain knows that isn’t the case. And it doesn’t actually matter if I lose all my words today – I’m not planning on going anywhere and don’t need to talk to anyone, but it’s interesting to observe how this works.
Yet the typing is still fine. The thoughts are muddled and not sufficient for any sort of proper work, yet there is a translation channel for my immediate thoughts to go to my fingers that remains open (a bit like closing all the doors to a house but the cat flap is still available for the cat to go in and out as it pleases). So I figured that instead of starting yet another thread on facebook, I could actually turn the fact that I was struggling to write a blog post into a blog post!
I guess it’s not the most interesting blog post in the history of blog posts, and it’s definitely a bit meta, but it is what it is and maybe it gives an insight into how being a fairly newly diagnosed autistic still in burnout impacts on my life and ability to do things!
And now I have to actually do the posting bit, which seems like a huge ask right now, but I’ll be pleased that I’ve achieved something if I manage it!